Southampton defender Jannik Vestegaard responds to Virgil van Dijk comparisons

Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Southampton FC at Stamford Bridge on January 2, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

The Saints centre-back is the only player in his position signed by the club since Van Dijk's move to Liverpool.

Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton ahead of the FA Cup Third Round match between Derby County and Southampton FC at Pride Park on January 05, 2019 in Derby, United Kingdom.

As the only centre-back that Southampton have signed since Virgil van Dijk's world record £75m departure to Liverpool, Jannik Vestergaard is likely to have come under closer scrutiny than most conventional signings at any given club.

Since arriving at St Mary's in the summer from Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach, the 26-year-old Denmark international has found himself in and out of the Saints' first-team picture.

Vestergaard played the full 90 minutes in six of his first seven Premier League games, missing only the 2-1 loss to Everton in August, but then found himself benched for seven of the following eight league matches.

 

With Ralph Hasenhuttl replacing Mark Hughes in December, the 6ft 5in defender has begun featuring more prominently, with 90 minutes completed in five of his last six league games, according to Transfermarkt.

However, there has been some criticism of Vestergaard recently, including from Southampton legend and ambassador Matt Le Tissier, who said during Sky Sports' coverage of the Saints game against West Ham: "He sees Lucas’ movement, but he does a complete 360 and has no idea where he is going. It’s a really odd habit to get into."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea is tackled by Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Southampton FC at Stamford Bridge on January 2, 2019 in...

Vestergaard has now given an interview to the Daily Echo in which he discussed his time in England and at the club so far, including comparisons with Van Dijk, who he has deemed one of the best players in the world in the position at present.

"I’m trying to be myself, I’m not trying to be Virgil van Dijk," he said. "He is obviously one of the best centre-backs in the world - if not the best - right now, so that hasn’t been on my mind at all.

"I’m trying to find back to myself and to my level to show what I know I can do. I think the last couple of weeks have been a good step towards that and now it’s about doing it on a consistent basis."

TOPSHOT - Southampton's Danish defender Jannik Vestergaard heads the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on...

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